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Barn Swallows have the most deeply forked tails of the North American swallows, and are also the only North American swallows with tawny brown to whitish bellies (the rest have much whiter undersides). Their tails and wings are relatively long, and their nests are most often on human structures.

  • The Cliff Swallow also has paler undersides and a chestnut-colored throat, but its white forehead opposes the Barn Swallow’s cinnamon-colored forehead and throat.
  • The Tree Swallow also has blue upperparts, but its underside and throat are pure white, and the blue is brighter and greener than the Barn Swallow’s purplish cobalt blue.

The Barn Swallow is the most abundant swallow species in the world, and the one of the most likely to be seen near human settlements given its adaptability and nesting preference. Look for them in parks, fields, and roadway edges, as well as near water. Learn more about their nests here.